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Offline NWR_Lindy

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The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« on: March 25, 2009, 01:27:40 PM »
We give you a guided tour of the newest addition to the Wii's featureset, the SD Card Menu.
 http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/newsArt.cfm?artid=18036

 Today at GDC 2009, Nintendo of America's Bill Trinen introduced the Wii SD Card Menu.  This menu appears after applying the latest Wii firmware update (available now), and appears as an icon in the bottom-left of the screen right next to the Wii button.    


This new menu allows you to load games directly from the SD Card, instead of having to constantly copy them over to the Wii's system memory and then run them from there.  In addition to this frequently-requested functionality, the Wii can now handle SDHC cards up to at least 32GB in size (whether it can handle cards larger than 32GB has not been confirmed nor denied).  It also expands the number of SD Card pages to 20, with 12 channel slots available on each page.    


In addition to these change to the local Wii menu, Nintendo has also updated the functionality of the Wii Shop Channel. Players can now choose whether or not they want to download to the Wii's system memory or the SD Card. Download times are identical in either case, indicating that there is no lag when dealing with direct-to-SD Card downloads.    


Here's what you'll see when you first access the Wii SD Card Menu:    


Game Developers Conference 2009: delete

After the update is applied, this icon appears on your Wii Menu
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Icon Mouseover

The mouseover tells you all you need to know
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Welcome Message

Accessing the menu displays a welcome message
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Save Data Information

Save Data can't be played directly off of the SD Card
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Warning Message

Remember, don't turn off your Wii while it's saving
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Closing Text

You always have the option of reading everything again
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Loading from the SD Card

The menu then loads from your SD Card...
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Full Menu

...and shows your games
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Game Loading Screen

When you load a game, this is the screen that's displayed

   


What the SD Card Menu actually does is place a "phantom" copy of a game that's on the SD Card in your Wii's system memory.  For example, World of Goo - a 320-block game - still requires 320 open blocks on your Wii.  However, if you launch another game, like Onslaught (a 308-block game), the 320-block reserved space then changes to a 308-block reserved space.  You can always delete this phantom image from the Wii's Data Management menu to free up the space entirely.    


Even larger games like Onslaught launch rather quickly, with Hudson's shooter taking a mere ten seconds to load.  As the game loads, a progress bar shows players how long it will take before the game is ready to play (loading will be longer if you let the SD Card Menu move files automatically, and the load times will also vary based on the read speed of your respective SD Card).    


Virtual Console, WiiWare, and Wii Channel Applications (such as the Internet Channel and Wii Speak Channel) are confirmed to be launchable from the SD Card Menu.  NWR has not tested installed channels such as the Mario Kart and Wii Fit channels, but it's probably safe to assume that they work as well.    


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Mouseover

The "phantom" SD Card data is in the top-left corner
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - SD Card Data detail

The details show the size of the placeholder data

   


A great new feature is the "Auto Manage" menu.  If you try to launch a game from the SD Card without having enough room on your Wii for the placeholder data, the "Auto Manage" menu informs you that you need to move some games from your Wii system memory to the SD Card in order to launch it.  It then lets you choose how you want to select which items are moved: by right-most position on the Wii Channel menu, by items with the most number of blocks, or by items with the fewest number of blocks.  I selected Lots of Blocks, and Tetris Party and Onslaught were moved over to the SD Card and deleted from my Wii system memory accordingly.  World of Goo was then copied over and launched.    


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Auto Manage screen

This Auto-Manage menu appears if you don't have space for SD Card data
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Movement Criteria Selection

You can then select the criteria by which to select items to move
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Selecting by Rightmost

Selecting by Rightmost on the Wii Menu
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Selecting by Most Blocks

Selecting by Lots of Blocks
   


Game Developers Conference 2009: Wii SD Card Menu - Selecting by Fewest Blocks

Selecting by A Few Blocks

   


There are a few caveats.  When exiting out of Virtual Console games, it appears that you can only go back to the Wii Menu, not directly back to the SD Card Menu.  You also cannot load save data or DLC from SD cards. Save data and DLC must be on the Wii's system memory, because it cannot access the SD Card. Furthermore, you cannot manage save data that's in your SD card with the SD Card Menu; to manage save data you still must use the Wii data manager.    


Dragging games from the Wii Menu to SD Card Menu is also not an option, and must also be performed via the Wii data manager. The News and Weather channels are also bound to the Wii Menu, and cannot be moved to the SD Card in any way.    


It's currently unconfirmed, but it also seems like copying games from the SD Card to the Wii system memory is a lot faster.  Copying the 308-block Onslaught now only takes 22 seconds, whereas it used to take minutes.    


The Wii SD Card Menu is a great addition to the Wii's SD card support, and will certainly all but eliminate having to "clean the fridge" for larger games.  When fridge-cleaning does need to take place, it is now a LOT easier.  It's a much-needed update to the Wii's functionality, one that will be appreciated by all heavy users of the Virtual Console service (which includes most of the staff here at NWR).  Good job, Nintendo!

Jon Lindemann
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Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2009, 12:55:54 PM »
Going from SD to Wii via this is indeed a lot faster, I moved Strong Bad Episode I from the internal memory to the SD card to make room for the placeholder and it took several minutes but when I played the game from the SD card it loaded in less than 30 seconds.

I've been waiting for this for a long time and it's great to see that Nintendo pulled it off without any major problems. Now I have to go back and download all the stuff I didn't put on my SD card.
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Offline NWR_DrewMG

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2009, 01:04:06 PM »
Seriously, having all of my DL'ed content available from the Wii Menu is like CHRISTMAS.  I've completely forgotten about some of the VC games I bought in 06-07
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Offline NWR_Lindy

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2009, 01:15:53 PM »
Yeah, this update is MONEY IN THE BANK
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Offline Caliban

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2009, 01:30:17 PM »
This update is great.

Offline Michael8983

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2009, 01:38:33 PM »
Nintendo = Love



Offline AV

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2009, 01:42:26 PM »
EPIC FREAKEN WIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I have no problem putting them all on SD card, and not having to worry about system memory ever getting full.

Offline Stratos

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2009, 01:54:55 PM »
Put the Internet Channel and the Nintendo Channel back on my Wii since I don't need all that space for precious games. Now I'll never have to have awkward ridge cleaning when guests are over and we try to play Rock Band or Guitar Hero and I forgot to clear enough ghost space to make the games SD card mode work.
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Offline Pale

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2009, 02:55:30 PM »
So I have to wonder... if this was what they were making.. why was it announced way back when as...

"The Wii Shop channel will be able to save games directly to the SD Card"

I don't understand the need to be cryptic there and not give the whole story.
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Offline kraken613

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2009, 03:01:50 PM »
I haven't gotten to download it yet... Getting an error code saying their servers are too busy.
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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2009, 03:24:59 PM »
I'm going to download this update tonight after work, but I'm concerned about something: If I can't play saved games directly from the SD Card (still), then how do I PLAY VC/WW games that I buy and download to the SD Card? Do I still have to move them over to the Wii's sytem memory in order to play them?

I guess I don't understand how this new update makes the process any smoother, because it looks like I will still have to shuffle things around.
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Offline NWR_Lindy

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2009, 03:45:21 PM »
Now you can dump everything onto your SD Card.  When you go to run it, the Wii makes a temporary copy in the Wii system memory and runs it from from there.  If you run something else, it deletes the original and refreshes it with the new data.

If you run World of Goo, it creates a 320-block temporary file on your Wii.
If you then run Onslaught, it automagically deletes the 320-block temporary file, and creates a new 308-block one.

If there isn't enough room on your Wii to create the temporary file, the Auto-Manage menu appears and helps you with that.

Basically move everything off to your SD Card and you're done.  This assures that you'll have enough room for any temporary file the SD Menu will attempt to create.
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Offline BlackNMild2k1

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2009, 03:50:03 PM »
Lindy, that was a great walkthrough that was very thorough and easy to understand.
I had already figured out how the SD copy over kinda worked, but the way you explained it just made it make more sense.


Offline Tansunn

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2009, 03:57:25 PM »
I'm going to download this update tonight after work, but I'm concerned about something: If I can't play saved games directly from the SD Card (still), then how do I PLAY VC/WW games that I buy and download to the SD Card? Do I still have to move them over to the Wii's sytem memory in order to play them?

I guess I don't understand how this new update makes the process any smoother, because it looks like I will still have to shuffle things around.

I think it keeps loading the save data from the Wii as usual, it just stores the program on the SD card.  Since you can move your large program files to the SD card, you'll have plenty of room to keep your save data on the Wii.

Also, a note for any Homebrew Channel users, make sure you update it before doing a system update.  I was too excited about loading stuff from the SD card that I didn't bother trying to update HBC beforehand, and for the time being, I can't update it.  I'll be stuck at 0.9 until they figure out another way to upgrade it.

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2009, 04:09:14 PM »
So, wait, this is a firmware update and not a separate channel? That leaves me with two questions:

1. Does it use any number of blocks?
2. Can it be removed like any other channel?

I don't have an SD card (or download games), so I'd hate to be forced to download this and have it just take up space.

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2009, 04:32:25 PM »
Oh, I see. So you can PLAY the game from your SD card, but it will still save itself to the Wii's internal memory. That makes sense.
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Offline Stratos

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2009, 04:33:26 PM »
I think half the space is reserved for updates and core programs. Everyone throws around the 512 when in reality you only have 256 to use for VC/WW/Channels/Save data. So it shouldn't impact your usable space.

Also, cards beyond 32gb are called SDXC and so I'm willing to bet they won't work on Wii.
SDXC 64gb cards are supposed to be coming before the end of the year. The cards can technically go as high as 2 Terabytes.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2009, 04:42:56 PM by Stratos »
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Offline LuigiHann

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2009, 04:43:17 PM »
One subtle but GREAT thing is that now, on the Wii system memory manager thing, in addition to the "Copy" and "Erase" buttons, there's a "Move" button, which makes the unwieldy two-step process into a much quicker one-step process. That'll make moving a bunch of stuff from the system memory to the SD card a smoother process overall.

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2009, 08:03:53 PM »
I wonder if this means Nintendo will loosen up the WiiWare size restrictions due to this. Basically, this turns the SD card slot into a paging file for the Wii.
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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2009, 09:36:05 PM »
If anyone is curious I put in a empty 8GB SD card in the Wii and it equals to 61,104 blocks.
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Offline Stratos

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2009, 09:37:39 PM »
I already had a 4 gig card running on my Wii so I don't need to buy a new one for a long while. :P
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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2009, 09:51:02 PM »
My designated SD card for Wii is 2GB I'm already up to page 8 on the SD card menu and still have over 6000 blocks.
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Offline NWR_Lindy

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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2009, 10:10:29 PM »
This is a firmware update.  It doesn't use up any blocks; this is just like when they added the clock to the Wii Menu.

In effect, the Wii uses its system memory like RAM in this case.  It copies the game to its RAM (system memory), and runs the game from there.  If you switch to a different game, it wipes the RAM and copies the new game file over.
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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2009, 10:23:44 PM »
Ya know what surprises me the most about this update? The fact that there is an actual progress bar when loading a game off SD. Holy crap! I can actually tell that something is happening!
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Re: The Wii SD Card Menu: A Walkthrough
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2009, 10:26:26 PM »
I am flattened by the news that this goes up to 32 GB. I never expected that! I was actually doubting that Nintendo would add SDHC support!

... of course, this also implies that the Wii2 will not have a robust out-of-the-box storage capacity.
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